Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Baseball Plant, Klipnoors, Sea Urchin
Euphorbia obesa

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: obesa (oh-BEE-suh) (Info)

29 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Cactus and Succulents

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

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There are a total of 46 photos.
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6 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive poeciliopsis On Jan 23, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- My record on Euphorbia obesa is only 50% survival. Microhabitat is everything. I planted two in 2012 within a foot of each other, but one was on a lower level of a raised bed and had more soil moisture and more shade -- it died. The one on the upper level survived. The upper level one has now become almost obscured under the branches of a dwarf Jerusalem sage, but it seems happy there.

Positive baiissatva On Sep 12, 2008, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

I grow mine indoors on a half-shaded windowsill and its about 10 years old and pushing 20cm tall. Ive learnt my lesson about exposing many cacti to our insane UV levels without mitigation- sunburn sucks.

Im not sure if the brown streaks common on the ridges of this species is a feature of the plant, a product of exposure burn or mite damage- everyone seems to have a different story.

Mine flowers madly at almost any time of year but is obviously a batchelor male and thus no babies. I am very fond of it- its a crazy little tartan dinosaur demanding no special treatment.

I find all euphorbias more rot-proof than a lot of the true cacti. I fertilize just with whatever soluble junk I have to hand. Some claim they are frost tolerant but I dunno.... I can see this guy succumbing and personally wouldnt recommend you risk a mature specimen.
Besides, theyre better company inside.

See some of our plants and gardenalia at The Blackthorn

Positive promethean_spar On Oct 16, 2006, promethean_spar from Union City, CA wrote:

I recently got one of these and picked out a female with a couple seed pods on top figuring I could get lucky and get several plants for the price of 1. Once the seed pod fell off (it didn't explode for me), I let it dry and opened it to get the three (large) seeds out. I planted them in a small pot in a baggie like one would do for cactus and placed them on a warm aquarium hood. In 3 days I had 100% germination. That gets an A+ on ease of propagation.

I'm keeping them indoors until spring because my version of 9b is extremely wet in the winter, though most C&S do okay under an eave where they stay dry. I'll experiment with some seedlings under the eave and in a cold frame next winter.

I like this plant because it is a wonderful example of convergent evolution. I keep it next to an astrophytum asterias with a sea urchin shell in the pot to form a neat little look-alike collection.

Positive palmbob On Jul 15, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I tried to grow this plant outdoors in Thousand Oaks California (a very 'cold' zone 9b) but no luck.. However, it does great in Simi Valley (better soil), also 9b, and I have no problems with it here in Tarzana zone 9b-10a. Does rot easily if overwatered in winter, though. Slow growing plant, but eventually can get up to 1' tall, and sometimes will 'branch' or sucker creating very odd looking clusters of spheres. Some crested and monstrose forms out there that are great looking neoplastic appearing potted plants.

Neutral Xenomorf On Nov 19, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Strange how this has a common name of 'cactus', but is actually in the Euphorbia family.......hmmmm.
Still cool lookin' anyway.

Positive PotEmUp On Mar 26, 2004, PotEmUp from Fremont, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is dioecious. The sex of the plant can be identified when they flower. The female has three protruding stigma on which the pollen grains stick, whereas the mail has a hairy like center covered with yellow pollen. Once pollinated the femaile plant produces fruit containing 3 seeds each. The plant elongates as it gets older, becoming a column rather than a sphere.

Neutral nipajo On Sep 3, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I had mine out in the direct sun and it looked like it was about to bloom, I saw a little of a yellow bloom then it was gone. This happened a couple of times. So I just bought it back inside. It started getting brown around the edges,close to the top of the pot. Usually I do not have my plants out in the sun because I am afraid of aphids or mealy bugs. So unfortunately they never bloom. But when I bought this it had just started blooming and I decided to let it get all the sun it could.

Positive lynxx On May 26, 2003, lynxx wrote:

Preffers a warm position in full sun, otherwise it may lose its lovely rounded shape and even rot! Makes nice hybrids with E. valida and E. mellanoformis. Plants are either male or female, never both.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Camp Verde, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Queen Creek, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Brea, California
Canoga Park, California
Casa De Oro-mount Helix, California
Castro Valley, California
Ceres, California
Clayton, California
Los Angeles, California
Mission Viejo, California
Norwalk, California
Perris, California
Ramona, California
Reseda, California
San Jose, California
Union City, California
Vallejo, California
Lutz, Florida
Braselton, Georgia
Metairie, Louisiana
Dallas, Texas

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